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- Lance Armstrong sat down for a lengthy interview with Freakonomics Radio.
- Armstrong admits that he was not contrite during his infamous interview with Oprah Winfrey but that a recent private conversation “rocked [him] to the core.”
- He also told a great story about how he is no longer combative and even paid for all the tabs at a bar after they chanted “F— you!” at him.
Unlike Alex Rodriguez, the redemption of Lance Armstrong has been a slow and painful process that may never come to fruition, but it does sound like he is finally coming to grips with everything that has happened and is finally contrite.
Armstrong sat down for an hour-long interview on Freakonomics Radio and discussed everything that has happened in the six years since the 7-time Tour de France champion was banned from the sport for life because of doping.
In the interview, Armstrong revealed that his infamous interview with Oprah Winfrey in 2013 was a strategic move and that he had not yet reached a place of contrition. However, he told two stories from the past 18 months that show he may finally have reached that one spot most people have been waiting for.
The first was a conversation Armstrong had a with a longtime Livestrong employee who “absolutely hated [his] guts.” According to Armstrong, she said the Livestrong people felt “complicit” in his actions, something he had never considered.
“Betrayal is a very heavy word. Complicit is 100 times [worse],” Armstrong said. “For me, I had already started to get my mind and my heart around the fact that people had suffered this tremendous amount of betrayal, and then I was hit with complicit. And it just – it rocked me to the core.”
The second story shows that Armstrong may actually be acting on his newfound contrition.
Armstrong explained how he was waiting for an Uber in Denver when a group of people at a patio bar across the street noticed him. The Uber pulled up in front of the bar and Armstrong had to cross the street to get in. As Armstrong passed the crowd, he acknowledged one person who called to him and then the entire crowd eventually was chanting “F— you!” at him.
According to Armstrong, ten years ago he would have started throwing punches. Instead, he paid for all their tabs and merely said, “I understand.”
“I’m getting in my Uber and there’s one guy goes, ‘Hey Lance,’ and I fully expected him to go, ‘What’s up, dude?’ and you know, ‘Right on man, love you,’ you know? And I go ‘Hey what’s up?’ He goes ‘F- you. F- you! F- you!’ and he wouldn’t stop. And the next thing you know, the entire patio is screaming ‘F- you, f- you, f-.’ I’ve never had that happen. I was like, ‘Oh.’ I was shaking.
So I got in the car and it was a very short drive to the race. But I’m sitting there, and I’m not saying a word, but I’m saying to myself, ‘You’re Lance Armstrong. You have to do something. You can’t take that.’ So I called the bar. I said, ‘Put the manager on the phone.’ Manager gets on the phone. I explained to him everything that happened. And he said, ‘Oh man, I’m so sorry. Dude that’s really regrettable. Hope it doesn’t happen again.’ I said, ‘Okay, I need you to do me a favor. Here’s my credit card number. I want you to walk out there and you buy everything they’re eating and drinking. And tell them that I understand.’
Me of 10 years ago, I would have jumped across the railing and start throwing punches. But this is 2017 in summer, sitting in the car saying ‘I have to act. I got to do something.’ And that’s the best thing that I could come up with. And just to say to those people ‘Look, I get it.'”
You can listen to the entire interview here.